Berlin to introduce law to allow circumcision

Andreas Michaelis tells Knesset c'tee legislation will seek to overturn court ruling which banned circumcision.

Andreas Michaelis 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Andreas Michaelis 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
German Ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis told a Knesset committee on Monday that Berlin will introduce legislation allowing circumcision to be practiced in the country.
Speaking before the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, Michaelis said a law will be introduced overturning a recent court ruling that banned circumcision in Cologne because it violates children’s rights.
“Jewish life in Germany in the wake of the awful past events is entirely different,” said Michaelis. “Obviously the ban on circumcision is more sensitive in Germany than other places because of the Holocaust, but it’s important to stress that the Jewish community in Germany is growing.”
During the gathering, several lawmakers and community representatives voiced their disapproval of the judge’s decision last week.
MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said his father, who was a mohel, or ritual circumciser, in French-occupied Algeria, risked his life during World War II to circumcise newborns.
“He traveled throughout [the Algerian city of] Oran despite being in danger,” said the haredi lawmaker. “Why? Because for generations we have laid down our lives to uphold our traditions.”
The Conference of European Rabbis will hold an emergency meeting in Berlin this week to discuss ways of repealing the ban, it said.
“The ruling in Cologne is perhaps one of the gravest attacks on Jewish life in Europe in the post-Holocaust world,” said Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis.
“The court utterly failed to consider how fundamental brit mila is to the Jewish faith and identity – as the original and eternal symbol of commitment to God.”